Email Marketers Segment Customers for Targeted Campaigns
01.10.19 · Shae Blevins
How many emails did you receive during the holidays exclaiming the best deal of the year or your last chance to take advantage of a great offer? How did your untouched inbox look when you returned to work after your holiday break? You might dread the Monday morning slog through your inbox, but those marketers know email is king. We’re here to tell you, they’re right. In 2018, we walked you through some of our email design basics, so you know why they’re using engaging visuals and big, bold buttons.
Let’s dig deeper in 2019 and take a look at how email marketers segment customer lists and deliver targeted content based on customer data to get the best return compared to any other marketing tactic.
Attract an Audience
Email rules the marketing realm, but only if you’re sending wanted content. Emailing users who haven’t asked is a surefire way to get your emails flagged as spam. Too many spam complaints will get you in trouble with the customer’s email service provider – and your own. Not to mention the potential hot water you could get yourself into if you email a user protected under CAN-SPAM or GDPR without their permission.
Avoid getting your domain blacklisted (and a lawsuit) by emailing users who opt in to receive your content. Use inbound marketing tactics to attract subscribers. For example, Greteman Group uses social media to encourage Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn followers to sign up for our Momentum or Velocity quarterly enewsletter. Boosting these types of posts with advertising dollars increases your reach and potential subscriber return.
Beyond social media, inbound marketing tactics include blog content, public relations and writing guest columns for publications your customers read.
Not all of your email subscribers are going to get all of your content, especially if you offer disparate products or services. An MRO wouldn’t send its Gulfstream customers the latest deals on Embraer refurbishments. At Greteman Group, we ask our subscribers to self-segment, opting in to receive either our aviation or non-aviation newsletter. Segmentation, though, can go beyond the checkbox. Smart email marketers use customer data to segment email subscribers into specific categories, so they can send relevant, targeted content.
Consider our MRO. They’re only going to email the offer to Embraer owners and operators – who haven’t been in for an interior upgrade in the past. How do they know who’s who and what’s what? They’re using the data in their customer relationship management (CRM) system to segment their email subscribers into “Embraer aircraft without interior upgrades” and “Embraer aircraft with previous upgrades.”
Our MRO can take segmentation to the next level by using website cookies to track and analyze logged-in users’ onsite activities. If [email protected] reads blogs and case studies about the best time to refurbish an aircraft, the MRO knows that particular subscriber is well into the research phase of the customer journey.
Test Your Segments
An opted-in audience and your down-to-the-detail segmentation strategy won’t do you any good if they don’t work. The only way to know if you’ve attracted the right audience and segmented them into appropriate categories is to test. We’ve already talked about A/B testing your content. You also need to A/B test your segments. Why? What you believe is your ready-to-buy segment might still be in the consideration phase. How do you know for sure? Split them, send Group A an offer and Group B content from your research and consideration phase, and then analyze the results.
Which email got the best open rate? What about click-through rate? Which landing page had the most actions? What actions were taken on the landing page? Did Group A take advantage of the offer? Did Group B contact you for more information? Run multiple tests, not just one. Give your audience the chance to make up their minds about where they are in the purchase funnel, and then make sure they’re responding the way you expect them to. If they’re not, you might need to revisit your strategy.
To use email marketing to the degree described above requires the right framework. You must have a subscribed audience. Your website has to talk to your CRM which has to talk to your email subscription service. Your content needs to engage. Navigating the necessary connections, especially if you’re starting with legacy systems, is rough – but it’s well worth the work. When will you start?
This column originally appeared in the January 10, 2019, issue of BlueSky News.